Monday, November 3, 2008

Speech update: working on sentences

"Bad guy in car." Shea said the other day pointing to one of his match box cars. Apparently, the bad guy was in the red car and the good guy was in the blue. I doubt if this was a political statement but I thought it quaint considering the timing.

For people without speech difficulties it is really hard to relate to how very hard it is. For example, me; I have always been a talker. Molly as well, she piped up with full sentences at 2. But, for Shea every word is work and a sentence, no matter how cryptic, is a very big deal.

Bubble lady, our beloved speech therapist, works on specifics every week like: plurals (cars) or possessives (Shea's car) and gives us direction and things to work on at home. Right now we are coaxing the "w" sound. Shea will say "yun" for one or "yait" for wait. I mouth the "w" sound and sign the letter by my mouth and usually he will try it again and get it. It's laborious but each time it gets a little easier for him. BTW - Learning to sign the alphabet does come in handy.

We are also working on the "f" sound, apparently a very hard one. Funny is "sunny" and fish is not even close. We've gotten pretty good at translating. As a family, we can pretty much figure out what he is trying to say.

On his own, he has started to say the "z" sound as in cozy or Maisy. And, the other day he tried out "la, la, la" as in singing. Now, that's new.

But, despite the challenges Shea's sentences are coming. 2, 3 and 4 word sentences are happening more and more these days. The biggest difference seems to be that he isn't as reluctant to try now. And, I swear, a lot of that reluctance diminished when we changed to the wheat/gluten/egg free diet. He was so much more focused and willing to try new words.

I read a touching blog the other day. A mom was saying that she was hoping/praying that her child would just open up and spontaneously speak one day. For her sake, I hope it happens. But, I remember feeling the same way. For the longest time I had dreams that Shea would look at me and the words would just spill out. Easily, like the way it was with my daughter. I would be elated and then I would wake up and realize that it was all wishful thinking.

I asked Bubble lady early on if it was like a switch flipping on and that he would just "get it". Unfortunately no but she gave me a good analogy. "Remember learning to drive a clutch. At first it was extremely awkward, it felt very weird, very hard work getting the sequence right but after practicing it got easier and easier, the more you did it the better you got." That is what Shea's speech delay is like. Each time he tries, it paves the way for future successes.

I like to think of it as walking trails in a deep forest. At first they are hardly visible and you need to hack your way through the brush. It's hard work and sometimes painful. But, each time they are traveled they become more pronounced, easier to see and negotiate. With time and traffic the trails become roads.

Only Shea will be able to tell us where his road will finally lead him. That is what I dream about these days.


Casey said...

Good job, Shel. I'm proud to be your neighbor and friend and super lucky to know your wonderful children.


Shea's Mom said...

Thanks Casey! Love you and your whole darn family.


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